Now entering its 19th year in the craft beer business, Stone Brewing Co. is in a state of unprecedented expansion. In addition to constructing an East Coast brewing facility in Richmond, Virginia, the country’s ninth largest craft brewery—with a long history of forwarding a number of craft beer styles that are now some of the most popular—is on the verge of further differentiating itself by becoming the first American craft brewer to independently own and operate a brewery in Europe. Appropriately (yet, admittedly, by coincidence), Stone is introducing an internationally inspired, celebratory offering, Stone 19th Anniversary Thunderstruck IPA. An IPA brewed entirely with Australian hops and malt, the beer will begin appearing on draft and in commemorative 22-ounce bottles across the country on August 10.
Over the past year, Stone has expanded international distribution of its decidedly bold beers into other countries, including Australia. When the time came to take Stone beers “down under,” Brewmaster Mitch Steele and Lead Brewer Jeremy Moynier traveled across the Pacific to personally introduce their liquid wares. While there, they brewed a collaboration rye-infused IPA with Australia’s Nomad Brewing Co. and sampled a bevy of the country’s exotic hop varietals, a number of which they were quite familiar with through hop trials and pilot brews back at home. The duo was so inspired by the country’s wealth of top-notch ingredients that, upon return, they developed a recipe for an all-Australian beer…that interestingly is rather unlike anything currently being brewed there, or here.
Brewed exclusively with Australian hops—Ella, Vic Secret, Galaxy, Topaz—and malted barley shipped from Australia specifically for this one-time release, the beer is bitter as an angry wallaroo and punched up with intense flavors of mango, pineapple and citrus. Exotic tropical fruit and pineapple aromatics are followed up by prevalent fruity hop flavors and a lingering intense bitterness on the finish. Thanks to the Fairview malt used as the base grain, the result is an IPA that authentically showcases unique hop varietals from the land down under.
Stone 19th Anniversary Thunderstruck IPA is the cornerstone of the company’s anniversary festivities, which include a two-day, three-part celebration in Stone’s home region of north San Diego County. Comprising a Friday Night Brewers Reception on August 14, followed by the West Coast’s largest annual ale and lager event, the dual-session Stone 19th Anniversary Celebration & Invitational Beer Festival on August 15, tickets to this year’s suds soirée are available at anniv.stonebrewing.com. This year’s two-day celebration will attract upwards of 7,500 guests, with 100 percent of proceeds going to four charity organizations:
- Surfrider Foundation
- Boys & Girls Club of San Marcos
- Palomar Family YMCA
- Fight ALD
“We’re immensely proud of the many unique beers we’ve brewed over the past 19 years, and it’s our fans’ love of those beers and their support of Stone that has allowed us to do what we do over such a long span,” said Stone CEO & co-founder Greg Koch. “We’re excited to be closing in on two full decades of craft brewing and our anniversary beers always offer us a special way of saying thank you to our supporters.”
Quick Facts Stone 19th Anniversary Thunderstruck IPA
Name: Stone 19th Anniversary Thunderstruck IPA
Stats: 8.7% ABV, 95 IBUs
Availability: Limited 22-ounce bottles and on draft, beginning August 10
Hop Bill: Topaz, Galaxy, Ella and Vic Secret
National Distribution: AK, AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WA and Puerto Rico
International Distribution: Australia; Alberta and British Columbia, Canada; Japan; Singapore; and United Kingdom
Tasting Notes, provided by Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele
Appearance: Pours gold color with a white head of foam.
Aroma: Aroma is amazing; massively hoppy with exotic tropical fruit, peaches, citrus and pineapple characters, balanced with a bit of peppery-herbal dankness.
Taste: Lots of fruity hop notes, ripe fruit, pleasantly malty and lasting intense bitterness.
Palate: Medium-bodied, bitter and dry.
Overall: Over the last several years, we have developed an intense and thorough hop-evaluation program that involves brewing a standard IPA test recipe on our five-barrel pilot system or our ten-barrel brewery at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station. With this program, we identify experimental, new or old-favorite hop varieties to evaluate, and these test beers are late-hopped and dry-hopped exclusively using the variety we are exploring. We’ve discovered a lot of great hops via these test brews, and the hops used in this release are great examples of the success of our program. We have developed a real affinity for hops grown in Australia. Australian Galaxy, for example, is a mainstay dry-hop varietal in Stone Enjoy By IPA. In the case of Stone 19th Anniversary Thunderstruck IPA, we dry-hopped the beer with two Australian hop varietals that went through our evaluation program–Vic Secret and Ella. Both are flavorful varieties with complex fruit profiles.
To make this beer even more authentically Australian, we also imported close to 400,000 pounds of Australian Fairview malt, all in 1,800-pound Super Sacks for use as the base malt. The result is a uniquely Australian beer, Stone-style. Thun-da!
Suggested Pairings, provided by Stone Craft Beer Ambassador “Dr.” Bill Sysak
Appetizers: Barbecue shrimp, chicken satay, kimchi, guacamole, goat cheese-stuffed piquillo peppers
Salads: Caesar, summer corn, quinoa and vegetable, antipasto
Entrees: Fish tacos, pad Thai, spicy vegetarian chili, chana masala
Cheeses: Parmigiano-Reggiano, Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, manchego, fontina, Keen’s Cheddar
Desserts: Carrot cake, peach cobbler, white chocolate-macadamia nut cookies, ginger spice cake
Cigars: Herrera Esteli Piramide Fino, Arturo Fuente Hemmingway Short Story